A long 25 years in waiting since the original movie, "Space Jam: A New Legacy" hit theaters (and HBO Max) on Friday, July 16th.
The two-hour film featuring the all-time great LeBron James, among other NBA and WNBA superstars, and the classic Looney Tunes from the first "Space Jam" was, in my opinion, perfectly done. It was just the right amount of entertaining, funny and corny with a bit of a real-life twist and some great little references for the basketball junkies that went to enjoy the newest version of an older classic.
Let me be clear right away: I am far from any sort of a movie critic. In fact, walking into the theater, I couldn't even think of the last movie I watched in general, never mind in theaters. I'm no sort of a movie buff, just a hoop head that thoroughly enjoyed the first "Space Jam" and couldn't wait for the remake with the superstar I grew up watching.
With that being said, this "review" contains some spoilers, but I promise to keep it all very surface level for the people that haven't yet watched.
Here are some thoughts on "Space Jam: A New Legacy."
1. The intro video
I'm not joking when I say this: the intro video before the movie begins is worth the price of admission alone for NBA diehards.
To set the stage for a full-length movie with LeBron James as the main character, what better way to brace the crowd than a thorough career highlight reel of arguably the greatest player of all-time?
Dating all the way back to his high school days at St. Vincent St. Mary's, the intro video goes through all of the tentpole events over the course of LeBron's illustrious basketball journey. The best part? There's a slight comic-book spin to his in-game highlights to really get you in the "Space Jam" mood.
It honestly left me speechless and I can't wait until the video makes its way to the internet and social media to see it again.
2. LeBron James: the actor
Again, I'm not a movie critic and am in no place to be judging someone on their acting skills.
There are probably professionals out there that will give James an unfair hard time for his performance, but I thought it was enjoyable (and no different from Michael Jordan in the original, to draw an inevitable comparison).
LeBron was authentic to himself and just the right amount of serious but funny, but also corny, and kind of cringey, but in all the right ways. He poked fun at himself, his career and he also had some signature LeBron moments and sayings.
It was a blast to watch him as the main character.
It's a joyful trip for basketball fans and listen, if you're viewing this movie for the acting, your head is in the wrong place to begin with.
3. LeBron James' recruiting process
NBA fans love to joke about LeBron handpicking his teammates in real life, so it was only right we got to watch it unfold for the "Tune Squad."
Without going too in-depth, it was great to watch him go from realm-to-realm to land teammates to go up against the "Goon Squad." There were plenty of jokes about his former teams and teammates in the process that NBA fans will appreciate.
4. The Goon Squad
The cast of Damian Lillard (Chronos), Anthony Davis (The Brow), Klay Thompson (Wet-Fire), Diana Taurasi (White Mamba) and Nneka Ogwumike (Arachnekka) was great and they all served their purpose in the movie, but I could've used more of their real-life personas in it, just because I enjoy all five of them as players and people and would've liked to see that shine through on the big screen.
Lillard got some real superstar treatment with his signature "Dame Time" moments, which was cool. And they all had moments in the game that paid tribute to their actual on-court skills, which was cool, too.
5. The "nuggets" for NBA junkies
Again, I don't want to spoil anything, so I'll keep this tree-tops.
If you're an NBA junkie watching this movie, keep those eyes and ears peeled. I picked up on a ton of little hits and references to moments in LeBron's career - even moreso than what was plainly presented on the surface.
From the aforementioned quips toward former teams and teammates to some poking and prodding at some things LeBron has said in the past, they did a great job sprinkling in "nuggets" for the diehard NBA fans.
From the start, they hit you with some nostalgia with a GameBoy Color and they don't look back. Of course, the Looney Tunes are nostalgic in their own right, but it goes beyond that. The big game between the Tune Squad and Goon Squad essentially being NBA Jam is a clear tribute to the long trip down memory lane.
7. Harry Potter, Game of Thrones and other Warner Bros./HBO references
As a Harry Potter and Game of Thrones nerd, I was hyped to see how many references there were to those two cult classics.
But in general, being a Warner Bros. product that was featured on HBO's streaming service, the film was able to touch on so many different realms of famous shows and movies from those two massive production companies.
For stuff that may go right over the heads of younger children watching, it added a nice touch to tailor to the older crowd.
8. A twist of reality
The plot itself was very relevant to parents and children today, making it perfect for a kids' movie.
I don't have kids, but how many parents are probably dealing with a similar situation, trying to push their kids away from video games to play real sports? With the growing prominence of eSports in today's world, it's important to realize the opportunities that electronics, gaming, coding, etc. can bring.
The movie did a solid job of seeing both sides of the argument.
9. Final thoughts
Go see it if you haven't already. It's a perfect family movie and if you're a basketball fan, you won't be disappointed, no matter the age.
The views on this page do not necessarily represent the views of the NBA or its clubs.